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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

I went to the LQS class yesterday. This is the room before everyone arrived. The quilts on display are all done by male quilters. It's been advertized in the local media. I was amazed at the hand quilting done on some of them.

So here I am working on my project.

The teacher was extremely patient with everyone. I do think the quilt shop could have been much more helpful to the teacher though. Julianne had a slide show demonstration which we couldn't see because of the overhead lights. The lights couldn't be turned off so we couldn't see what was projected. Also, I wasn't aware.... before the class.... that Julianne had fabrics for sale. The quilt shop should have told everyone fabrics would be available during class. Several bought fabrics a few days before the class.

I took fabrics from my stash and now I understand I will need to take a class on choosing fabric "values" if I'm going to be doing portraits. It will be easier if I order fabrics from Julianne, which I plan to do from now on.

I also realized it will be easier to order patterns from Julianne too. But my desire is really to learn to do my own patterns. I like the idea of viewing different images of a photo and choosing how it will be created in fabric. The cropping out of backgrounds and putting in new ones and changing compositions appeals to me. But... learning photoshop is like getting a college degree in one day. It could be done if the person is smart enough.... but very frustrating for someone like me who isn't. Yup, it will be much easier to let Julianne do the patterns for me and well worth the cost!

Here's what I mean about the values. You see what I see? The colors don't blend together close enough. I have too much contrast between colors.

Even from a distance the light is much too light. The hairline is too choppy and not defined with the right fabric. It would look better if it blended a little better.

Even from a distance the values don't blend together enough. Notice the difference in the way the two pictures blend fabrics? The girl above is fabrics I chose, the girl below came in a pre-made practice kit from another portrait quilt teacher.... Margaret Buckleu.

Here they are from a further distance. Still too much contrast.

Julianne also asked if someone went home and did thread play on their portraits would they send her a picture of it to see. Well, I didn't say it but that's what I had in mind. I would love to combine stitching threads with the fabric to create portraits. I'm not sure thread play would work though. Why? Let me see if I can explain my thoughts.

There are 6 layers to the pattern. In some areas that's 6 layers of fabric plus 6 layers of fusible web glue that are sitting on top of each other. Add to that a background layer of fabric and batting and backing. Threadplay is usually done by sewing very fast and moving the piece around to get the effects. That's a lot of layers to be sewing through at a fast pace. I'll probably try the thread play anyway.... some time in the future.... just to satisfy my curiosity. Maybe after Christmas rush is over?

Now to the differences in how the two techniques are done. I love both techniques but I know there are people waiting for me to tell what I've learned.

Julianne's method:

Each layer is done in order from 1 through 6.

No light box is required. Each layer progresses from darkest to lightest.

Each layer uses the previous layer as the guide for placement of pieces.

Each layer is cut out as it's being worked.

Each layer is ironed on before you start the next one.

This method is very easy to do. She does all the hard "thinking" for you when she creates your pattern. In other words... you won't be saying to yourself.... now where should this piece be placed?

The drawbacks to this method? The paper patterns use a dotted design on the paper to trace and cut. Visually I kept loosing where I should be tracing. Also the stiffness of many layers on top of each other. This is not a problem though if you plan to put your finished portrait in a picture frame.

Margaret's method:

It requires a lightbox or else skill at understanding where to place the pieces. I used the original picture to help with my placements.

All pieces are cut out before putting any of it together. She recomends putting the pieces of each layer into a separate plastic bag until everything is cut out.

The pieces to trace are done in solid black which made it easier for me to visually see what the actual pieces are and what was not.

The layers don't go in number order and not necessarily all pieces of one layer at the same time. Although with practice this won't be too difficult.

What I found was that with this method, one layer will lay on top of another but the two combined layers don't line up in the same spot on the layers underneath. This creates a much thinner finished composite. In no one spot are there more than two layers of fabric.

Did I explain that right? I tried explaining it yesterday to Julianne and didn't have any more success than I'm having now. It's kind of something you have to actually do in order to understand it.

The drawback to this method? The cutting out of extremely tiny pieces and rembering where they should be placed and figuring out in what order. Also remembering what the tiny slivers of fabric were in the pattern. What might look like a highlight for the hair could actually be a highlight for the clothing etc.

Well, that's what I've learned so far. I love the ease of one method and the thinness of the other method. I don't know if I've helped myself or simply created more heartache. My desire to create portrait quilts is even stronger now. Gaining more knowledge about creating these makes it very hard for me to concentrate on machine quilting for others.

Hard as it will be for me..... the portraits will be put into a ufo bag for after Christmas rush is over. My customers come my own work, always. They are my friends and I don't want to disappoint a friend.

As my friend Dawn would say about me..... you can see the object of your journey just ahead, you only need to find the path around all the boulders laying in the way. So with that said, I'm off to do some quilting before I leave for guild meeting.

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